Co-operatives UK has appointed Rose Marley as chief executive.
Marley, who will take up the role in January, is founding chief executive of the Manchester-based social enterprise SharpFutures, which supports young people into the creative, digital and tech industries.
She succeeds Ed Mayo, who stepped down in the summer to take up the top job at the business support charity Pilotlight.
Marley is chair of the Social Enterprise Advisory Group for the Greater Manchester combined authority, an RSA Fellow and an advisory board member for the School of Digital Arts.
Co-operatives UK supports thousands of co-operatives in Britain, from high street retailers to community-owned pubs.
Marley said: “There has never been a more important moment to harness the enthusiasm of a new generation for a fairer way of doing business.
“Over the past 20 years as a social entrepreneur I have worked to increase social mobility, give our young people meaningful employment, a start, a chance in life," she said.
"I look forward to bringing that same spirit and energy to enthusing the next generation of co-operators about the world-changing potential of the co-operative movement."
Don Morris, chair of Co-operatives UK, said Marley would bring a “fresh approach to the challenges facing entrepreneurs, co-operatives, community business and social enterprise today”.